The Political Career of Richard Nixon

Topics: Richard Nixon, President of the United States, Gerald Ford Pages: 12 (3769 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Political Career of Richard Nixon

1. Nixon's Beginning in Politics

2. Emergence in National Politics
A. The Hiss Case
B. Nixon's Political Obituary
C. Resurgence as a presidential candidate

3. The 37th President
A. Nixon's Appointment's
B. Foreign Policy
1. Nixon's plans for Europe
2. Vietnam
C. Domestic Policy

4. Nixon's Second Administration
A. Reelection
B. Watergate

A few weeks after the United States entered World War II a young man named Richard Nixon went to Washington, D.C. In January 1942 he took a job with the Office of Price Administration. Two months later he applied for a Navy commission, and in September 1942 he was commissioned a lieutenant, junior grade. During much of the war he served as an operations officer with the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander.

After the war Nixon returned to the United States, where he was assigned to work on Navy contracts while awaiting discharge. He was working in Baltimore, Maryland, when he received a telephone call that changed his life. A Republican citizen's committee in Whittier was considering Nixon as a candidate for Congress in the 12th Congressional District. In December 1945 Nixon accepted the candidacy with the promise that he would "wage a fighting, rocking, socking campaign." Jerry Voorhis, a Democrat who had represented the 12th District since 1936, was running for reelection. Earlier in his career Voorhis had been an active Socialist. He had become more conservative over the years and was now an outspoken anti-Communist. Despite Voorhis' anti-Communist stand the Los Angeles chapter of the left-wing Political Action Committee (PAC) endorsed him, apparently without his knowledge or approval. The theme of Nixon's campaign was "a vote for Nixon is a vote against the Communist-dominated PAC." The approach was successful. On November, 5 1946, Richard Nixon won his first political election. The Nixons' daughter Patricia (called Tricia) was born during the campaign, on February 21, 1946. Their second daughter, Julie, was born July 5, 1948.

As a freshman congressman, Nixon was assigned to the Un-American Activities Committee. It was in this capacity that in August 1948 he heard the testimony of Whittaker Chambers, a self-confessed former Communist espionage agent. Chambers named Alger Hiss, a foreign policy advisor during the Roosevelt years, as an accomplice while in government service. Hiss, a former State Department aide, asked for and obtained a hearing before the committee. He made a favorable impression, and the case would then have been dropped had not Nixon urged investigation into Hiss's testimony on his relationship with Chambers. The committee let Nixon pursue the case behind closed doors. He brought Chambers and Hiss face to face. Chambers produced evidence proving that Hiss had passed State Department secrets to him. Among the exhibits were rolls of microfilm which Chambers had hidden in a pumpkin on his farm near Westminster, Md., as a precaution against theft. On December 15, 1948, a New York federal grand jury indict ed Hiss for perjury. After two trials he was convicted, on Jan. 21, 1950, and sentenced to five years in prison. The Hiss case made Nixon nationally famous. While the case was still in the courts, Nixon decided to run for the Senate. In his senatorial campaign he attacked the Harry S. Truman Administration and his opponent, Helen Gahagan Douglas, for being "soft" toward the Communists.

Nixon won the election, held on Nov. 7, 1950, by 680,000 votes, and at 38 he became the youngest member of the Senate. His Senate career was uneventful, and he was able to concentrate all his efforts on the upcoming 1952 presidential...

Bibliography: Kane, J. N. Facts About The Presidents, Norfolk: Wilson, 1984
Aithea, Jonathan Nixon: A Life, New York: Regency, 1994
Hargrove, Jim Richard M. Nixon: The 37th President, Chicago: Childrens, 1985
Anthony, C. All The President 's Men, Boston: Easton, 1989
Nixon, R.M. The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990
Ryan, James Richard Nixon, Chicago: Childrens, 1985
Bernstein, Carl Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information, Norfolk:
Wilson, 1983
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